BELOW THE BOTTOM BUNG 89 aggressor rather than an example to the aggressed; and that in order to have peace you must organize, you must be strong, and that you must be prepared to use force. Mutatis mutandi$,th&t is precisely what Ambedkar meant about the untouchables. He wanted them to be organized and he wanted them to be strong. He rightly considered that the best way of gaining his object was by granting them separate electorates ; a solid block of 60 million would be in a position to dictate terms to its oppressors. Gandhi fiercely opposed this scheme. 'Give the untouchables separate electorates/ he cried, Łand you only perpetuate their status for all time/ It was a queer argument, and those who were not bemused by the Mahatma's charm considered it a phoney one. They suspected that Gandhi was a little afraid that 60 million untouchables might join up with the 100 million Muslims—(as they nearly did)—and challenge the dictatorship of the 180 million orthodox Hindus. When such irreverent criticisms were made to him, Gandhi resorted to his usual tactics ; he began, a fast unto death. (As if that altered the situation by a comma, or proved anything but his own obstinacy !) There was a frenzy of excitement, ending in a compromise on the seventh day of the last. The untouchables still vote in the same constituencies as the caste Hindus, but a substantial number of seats- are now reserved for them in the provincial legislatures. It is better than nothing, but it is not nearly so good as it would have been if Gandhi had not interfered. That is what Dr. Ambedkar meant. And I think that he was right. VI " What of the future? It depends very largely on the British. If we knuckle under to Congress demands, the state of the untouchables will remain either stationary or deteriorate. And it cannot be too often emphasized that even if it remains stationary it will still ba quite intolerable.